Giselle lay quietly as her husband stirred in his sleep. Soon the grip he had on her body loosened and he began to move around, climbing out of bed once he’d woken up enough to move around without hurting himself.
Giselle kept her eyes closed, not wanting to give him the slightest idea that she was awake, or ready to fight once again. There’d been entirely too much of that lately.
Once she heard the bathroom door close and lock, and the shower followed, she sat up. Looking down at her arms, she took one deep breath. Bruises, cuts, and scars from old wounds that he hadn’t allowed to heal properly. All because she dared to question the true state and nature of their relationship. All because she dared to have an opinion, because she dared to know what she wanted.
She deserved better, and Giselle knew that.
Moving around lightly as she climbed out of bed, Giselle paused when she heard her name being called.
“Giselle, get up now! You need to be dressed by the time I finish my shower.” That meant she had twenty-five minutes. “Gise-”
“I’m up, Travis.”
“Good.” There was a long silence, and once she heard his terrible singing, she began to move around. The only difference between today and every other day she spent in this hell; she would be leaving for good.
Tiptoeing to their closet, she carefully and quietly pulled out the suitcase she’d packed. Tossing last minute items in, she quietly zipped it up and carried it to the door. Giselle was so careful not to make noise, all the while listening for her husband’s voice.
He was still singing, off-key and messing up lyrics. “Gonna make this a niiiiiight to remem-beeeer. Get ready! Too-ooo-ooo-night! Whoo!” Giselle shook her head, quickly throwing on a pair of sweats and a jacket. She slipped on a pair of sneakers and pulled her hair into a ponytail. “Giselle, Baby, I want to apologize for last night. I know that I shouldn’t have taken my frustrations out on you; I’ve just been going through so much lately.”
Giselle said nothing as she grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. Standing over her vanity, she began to lay all of her feelings out in a short note to her husband. “You hear me, G?”
“Yes, Travis, I hear you.”
“Good. I know I say it over and over, but I really mean it this time. I am so sorry. I don’t treat you the way you deserve, I hurt you a lot and I’m trying to do better. I promise I am. I won’t be stepping out anymore, I won’t put my hands on you.” Giselle continued writing, letting his words go in one ear and right out the other. “You forgive me, Baby?”
“Yes, Travis. I forgive you.”
“I love you, Giselle. I truly love you. If it weren’t for you supporting me the way you do, staying by my side all of these years, I know I’d have nothing.”
Signing her name at the bottom of the note, Giselle set the pen down and quickly grabbed her purse. She took one quick look around the space that’d been her home for years before she walked out of the room, grabbed her suitcase and walked out the door. Forever.
Running as quickly as she could down the three flights of stairs and out the back door of her apartment building, she threw her suitcase into the backseat of her brother’s car. He’d been waiting there for the majority of the morning.
Just as sure as he was that she would change her mind, he was surprised. Usually when he saw Giselle, there was some type of sad or depressing look spread across her face. This time; there was confidence. “Are you ready to go Giselle?”
She looked at her brother and nodded. “Yes. Let’s go, quickly, before he looks out the window and sees us. You know our apartment faces this back alley.”
Since he’d never turned his car off, her brother quickly switched gears and pulled away, driving his sister to the safety of the home she’d left years before to be with a man she thought loved her.
Stepping out of the shower; Travis wrapped a towel around his body and stepped back into the bedroom. It’d been entirely too long since Giselle answered him and that left him concerned. She knew better than to go back to sleep, especially when they had something important planned.
“Giselle! You better be in that closet getting ready.”
Still, something was different to him. Passing her vanity, he caught glimpse of a paper that hadn’t been there before. He was meticulous, slightly OCD, and anything that was out of place caught his attention immediately.
Picking it up, he began to read aloud.
“Dear Travis, I wish I could have done this in a braver way. Simply put; I can’t take anymore. Days when you hold me entirely too close, and nights when you blacken my eye for trying to move away for just a little bit of air; I am tired. Had you not taken the extra precaution to keep me held captive in your tight grasp all night long, you probably would have woken up to this same letter.” He took a deep breath before continuing, feeling his blood begin to boil. As he read, he began to look around to see what things were gone. “I have tried so hard to please you, to keep you happy. In the process I lost my own happiness. You’d always tell me that I had nothing to want for, and that much was true. I should have been happy to have a man love me so much that he wanted to control every aspect of me and my life. And for a while, it was fine. I never thought of having or needing anything or anyone else. But it became too much. I can’t go through life hiding cuts and bruises, making excuses for the scars and ‘accidents’. I can’t keep crying over something that won’t change, and I can not allow you to use and abuse me as you please. I’m tired of the explanations, the excuses, the empty promises and the false apologies. Nothing about you has changed, and it never will. If you’re reading this, it means I packed up the few things I needed, zipped my suitcase and finally made my way out. Goodbye, and enjoy living alone in the hell you’ve created. Signed, Gone Forever.”
Travis balled the piece of paper up, throwing it across the room as he frantically searched for the suitcase she spoke of. Surely, it was gone.
Moving about their bedroom, many hints of her presence had been removed. The one way he could contact her, her phone, sitting on their dresser. She was gone. “How the fuck could you do this to me, Giselle!?”
Slouching down in her seat on the passanger side of her brother’s car, Giselle took one deep breath. “Are you okay, Sis?”
She nodded slowly. “Yeah, just trying to figure out what I’m going to do next.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can only live out of that suitcase for so long, and trust me, I didn’t bring much. I bought my plane ticket in cash, under a fake name, weeks ago. I didn’t bring any other money with me, didn’t want him to get suspicious when he checked his accounts weekly.”
“Think nothing of it, Giselle. Big Bro’s got you. You’re safe now, and I’m gonna make sure you’re good.”
She sighed again, looking out the window. Giselle hoped she was truly safe now. She hoped Travis would just let go.